Traditional Mass

Monday, January 02, 2012



(The translation of the Psalms and the brief introductory comments on the Psalms of this Little Office of the Blessed Virgin are taken largly from: The Psalms and Canticles by George O'Neill, S.J. [Bruce Publishing Co. 1937.] The late Father O'Neill's work has long been out of print.)

Psalm 1, Verse 1 and 2 in Biblia Hebraica Stut...

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"It is clear from the New Testament that the Apostles, St. Paul included, were steeped in the Psalms (cf. the magnificent exordium to the "Hebrews"). The Psalms were at once incorporated into the Liturgy; if the New Testament provided the first Christians with the image of the Shepherd and the Lamb, it was the Psalms which handed on that of the Stag eagerly seeking the living water. The acta Martyrum are full of instances which show Martyrs, even quite young boys, earnestly repeating verses from the Psalms while being tortured. St. Ambrose says that people talked in church when other parts of the Scriptures were read, but, when the Psalms were recited, all were silent; and that a man should blush if he did not begin the day with a Psalm, since even the birds devoutly sing at morning and at dusk. . . .

Paula and Eustochius wrote from Bethlehem to Marcella that the 
ploughman, the reaper, and the vinedresser sang the Psalms to lighten their
work. St. Gregory Nazianzen, while still a pagan, dreamed that he was singing 'I was glad when it was said to me: We will go up to the house of the Lord.' (Psalm 121), and the dream haunted him, and he came thus to baptism. When St. Monica died, all her son's companions sang the Psalm: 'I will sing of mercy and judgment, To Thee, O Lord, will I sing' (Psalm 100) to console him; and he (St. Augustine) died with the Penitential Psalms written up large before his bed. Marcell, mentioned above, actually gathered a group of women around her, studied Hebrew so as to sing the Psalms properly, learned the entire Psalter by heart, and apparently recited the whole of it daily. Paula died with the Psalms: 'How beloved is thy dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts' and 'I love the Lord' (Ps. 83 & 114) on her lips; and round her dead body Psalms were sung for three whole days. 

[To be continued]

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